Sunday, September 30, 2012

Your Heart Will Burn: Scene Five, Wardle Home

This scene depicts Isaac saying goodbye to his family.  At this time my understanding that Isaac was the only member of the church in his family, although most others joined later, except his half brother Thomas Wardle Morton.  This scene includes his father and motherJohn and Mary, older brother William and younger siblings Hannah and James.  John is another brother who is generally forgotten because he passed away before his parents imigrated, but was alive at this time.  Also Thomas his oldest half brother.  Before Isaac left Hannah, William and Thomas were married.  William had two children.  As mentioned Joseph did not immigrate, but he did marry and his wife did.  He was a member of the church.  See the work of Patti Call for more details of this

Thomas was a member, Isaac's parents and he all being baptized before Isaac.  All the other siblings were baptized with the exception of Hannah, who was thought to have immigrated to Australia, however it appears she immigrated to Eastern U.S. Pennsylvania.  Again see the work of Patti Call.  Isaac's farewells probably took place over several days.  He does say he returned to his parent's home from Walsall to say goodbye.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Your Heart Will Burn: Scene Four

I think this is probably the only scene which is entirely fiction.  It presents William Severn and Mary Astle, who actually marry aboard the Horizon in a few weeks.  However as to their romance I know nothing. All I know of them is that they were married on the Horizon and were members of the Martin Handcart Company.  However, it was not unusual for relations to take place through the mail during this period when travel was more difficult.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Martin's Cove Plaque

Martin's Cove Plaque



Sunday, September 23, 2012

Your Heart Will Burn Act 1 scene 3

This is a continuation of the reenactment which we performed in the Stevens Creek Ward, mostly among the youth.  We tell the story of the Ashtons and Isaac Wardle and the company in general.
Scene 3 introduces us to the Ashtons, and their decision to travel by handcart, even with their mother, Sarah Anne Ashton being pregnant.  To William and Sarah were born six daughters.  I this seen we see Betsy, 11, Sarah 7, Mary Ann 5 and Elizabeth 3.   A daughter between Betsy and Sarah previously passed away.  Of course the actors who were cast are older than these ages.  There is no record of how the Ashtons heard of the handcart plan.  Here I have Edward Martin and William Severn bringing the news.  William Severn and Mary Astle were both from Nottingham and they actually marry on the ship Horizon.  Details of their relationship are historical fiction.  London Bridge and the song are both period.
 I am not sure why this didn't come out as one movie, but here is the rest

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Your Heart Will Burn Act 1 scene 2

Scene two follows Isaac and his conversion to the gospel.  Again I have President Richards teaching him when it actually was Frederick Smith.  Isaac talks about not being able to read, which is an accurate portrayal.  He did not have the opportunity to attend school much.  He does talk about his finances and traveling to Zion.  He went to work in the coal at Walsall so as to raise more money.  I think this mine may have paid more as the conditions weren't as nice.  When I wrote this musical, I was under the impression that Isaac was the first of his family to convert to the Gospel.  I was wrong in this assumption.  Many family members converted in the Whitwick Branch, his mother being the first.

Your Heart Will Burn: Act 1 overture and scene 1.

15 years ago I wrote a musical of the handcarts, which we produced in our ward, Stevens Creek Ward.  I told the stories of Isaac and the Ashtons as well as the company.  The program is in this post:

Please remember that this was a ward production, and I was directing.  We have our flaws, but overall I think it is done well.  If not for Susan McGhie, who made the video, we would not have a record of the musical.  I will be correcting some of the historical mistakes I have found.  I am putting the musical on You Tube a bit at a time and will comment here.
  Overture and Act 1 Scene 1:  This video has the overture, Joe Eliason on piano and Elaine Morris on violin.  Stan Dye introduces  the missionaries as President Richards.  This was my first artistic license as Isaac says he was taught by Frederick Smith.  I have not found any other reference to Frederick Smith.  However to avoid multiple cast members, President Richards, president of the European mission, and apostle, is here.  This scene shows Isaac and his older brother William in the mines.  Isaac began working at the age of seven.  He would come home and fall asleep as he ate his dinner.  This is presented in the scene.  Isaac is portrayed by my son Mark and sings the son "Living Between the Light and the Shadows" which I wrote in high school.  I added a verse for Isaac.  We also see James and Mary, Isaac's parents.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Isaac Wardle History: Chapter 10f

There is no way of describing everything that happened on the Martin handcart Trip.  However by seeing the pieces, we have a greater appreciation of the struggle: 
The whole story of the travels and sufferings of the Martin and Tyler Handcart companies that arrived in Salt Lake City on the Sunday of Nov. 30, 1856, can never be written or told. Sketches and episodes may be related in brief, but the weather towards the last of the journey was so intensely cold and the hurrying to get through the mountains to the valley so great as to preclude any attempt to write up any data of the journey. (Jones, Sam, CH)
Brother Orson Twelves, who had three family members starve to death on the trek, explained the disaster in this manner:
There was a shortage of food because the handcarts couldn’t carry much food. The company counted on supplementing their supply at Fort Bridger, and other points along the way and were disappointed…  The unusually early winter was blamed… About one third of the company died… When they were weakened by starvation they couldn’t stand the cold and froze to death.  (Twelves, CH)
Another brother summarized the hardship in this manner:
They had to wade through ice and snow and slush… No one was to blame, it was a situation beyond control, a miscalculation and a series of disasters. The oxen died and their loads had to be carried by the people. The more that died [people] the longer was the delay, for they all had to be given a decent burial. The cold was terrific. (Teeples, CH)
Daniel Tyler, who was the company chaplain, described the suffering of the saints:
Elder Edward Martin was appointed Captain and I his Counseler and Chaplain. My health was poor, but when I saw the Suffering of my brethren and Sisters in consequence of the cold[,] Storms and Scarcity of provisions I plead might[i]ly with the Lord and I was heal[e]d and became healthier than I had been for Several years[.] Elder Martin requested me to See every one out of Camp in the morning and in Camp at night, which I did, he going a head and looking out Camping places &c. I also had to See to burying the dead which in our Company amounted to Some thing over ninety during our over three month travel, out of our Six hundred, Souls! The heavy Snows Set in at the upper Crossing of the Plat[te] about the first of Oct. and continued during the rest of the Journey at intervals the rest of the way… We done our best, and many to day congratulate us on Saving their lives while others whom by the utmost exertion we Succeeded in Saving can Scarcely think of any thing too wicked and false to Say about us.  (Tyler CH)
A pioneer, who met the family of his brother after arriving gave this description.  “they arrived in Salt Lake about the last of November in peril[ou]s condition suffering great hardship in their travels across the plains[.] they were mere skelleton when they arrived in Salt Lake City[.]”  (Barnes, CH)  The New York Tribune provided this graphic description of the pioneers and their condition:
Another of the Hand-Cart trains arrived here last Sunday in a condition which beggars all description. Winter caught them in the mountains destitute of clothing and provisions, and had not the relief which was sent from here reached them, every one of them would have perished. As it is, out of the 500 which started, one fourth have died, and more than 100 of the remainder have lost their hands or feet from the effects of the cold. When they reached here there were not 50 in the train who could help themselves; the rest were stowed in the bottoms of the wagons which had been sent for them, ragged and filthy beyond conception; helpless and despairing they could or would not get out of the wagons to attend to the calls of nature, and if the weather had not been intensely cold it would have bred a pestilence.  (Deseret News, CH)
The late start and frequent delays of the company were the cause for the tragedy.  P.A.M. Taylor summarized handcart immigration in this manner:
The fate of the last two companies of 1856 is one of the most celebrated chapters of Mormon history.  They were caught by snow as the crossed the Rockies and, despite resolute attempts from Utah to relieve them, more than two hundred died.  Faulty timing and the enthusiasm of the leaders combined to produce disaster.  Yet the plan was not a technical failure.  Three companies even in 1856 got through safely, with more than half of the year’s twenty-two hundred handcart emigrants.  Companies in 1857, 1859 and 1860, to say nothing of groups of east bound missionaries, used the method with nothing worse than a degree of hardship which was perhaps an acceptable price for a cheap gathering to Zion. (Taylor, P.A.M. p 136)
David Roberts summarized the death toll:
…The true death toll among the Martin Company can never be reckoned…  Hafen and Hafen cite 135 to 150.  LDS archivist and historian Mel Bashore, who has carefully studied the question, sets the toll at 150 to 170. 
   If we take the range of the death toll in the Willie Company as between 66 and 77, and the range in the Martin Company as between 135 and 170, then the total mortality count in the last two handcart companies amounts to between 200 and 240…  The conclusion is inescapable: the Mormon catastrophe of 1856 remains far and away the most deadly in the history of westward migration in the United States. (Roberts p 255)
The Martin Company therefore saw about 150 deaths of the 600 pioneers, a death total in the range of 25 percent.  Violet Kimball puts the death rate at ten percent for all Westward migration between 1841 and 1868. (Kimball p 148)
Of course death was not the only consequence.  In addition to the deaths, over 100 had serious health consequences from amputations of limbs due to frost bite.  “There were several young men who had their feet amputated to save their lives.” (Fullmer, Church History 1)
Gustive Larson sites several individuals in his footnotes with regards to the cause of the disaster:
Bancroft (H.H. Bancroft History of Utah) summarized the causes of the Hand Cart disaster as follows:  Error in starting late, insufficient number of able-bodied men in proportion to the numbers in the company, and the winter setting in earlier and more severe than had been known in the previous experience of the Utah Colonizer.  This author concludes after his survey of the situation:  “Even the worst enemies of Brigham Young admit that he was in no way to blame for the disaster and that he spared no efforts to relieve.”  Linn (Linn, W.A. The Story of the Mormons) writing in 1902 and apparently drawing his conclusions from Stenhouse’s “Tell it All,” emphasizes the lack of preparation for emigrants when they arrived in Iowa City, the weak features of the cart construction, and the failure to have supplies in readiness at Fort Laramie as the primary causes of the disaster.   (Larson p 215)
An article published in The Mormon untitled “Arrival of the Hand-carts at Great Salt Lake City” gives a favorable description and also provides some insight into the tragedy:
   We are informed from other sources that there has been a good deal of suffering, owing principally to their late start and the unusual severity of the weather…
   When we reflect upon the position of those emigrants, their exposed condition, and the extreme severity of the weather, we have cause of gratitude to our heavenly Father for His protecting care over them and their safe arrival at the place of their destination…
… The trouble has been among those who started late. We were not apprised, until some time after, that companies had started so very late in the fall, and we must confess, when we heard of it, that we trembled for the result. We believe that the brethren engaged in the direction of the emigration used every exertion, and we anxious to take all through that they possibly could; but we then believed, as well as now, that much suffering o the emigrants would have been spared, and also a great deal of unnecessary trouble and expense to our friends in the valley, if the last companies had staid in Florence, or somewhere on the frontier.
…We knew it to be President Young's views that the emigration should start early and we wished to carry out those views. Again, it was our own fixed, decided opinion that the hand-cart trains should start early. Our reasons were that the project was new; that a great many feeble persons, as well as women and children, would be along, and that in case of casualty they would be much safer with an early start. Besides, we have always believed that more trouble, sickness, and expense was caused by detention in camp than by anything else.  (Mormon, CH)
This idea was reflected by Heber C. Kimball of the first Presidency.  “If the immigration could have been carried on as dictated by br. Brigham, there would have been no trouble.”  (Kimball, CH)  Brigham Young put the cause of the tragedy at the feet of those who let them leave late from the Missouri:
   There is not a person, who knows anything about the counsel of the First Presidency concerning the immigration, but what knows that we have recommended it to start in season.—True, we have not expressly, and with a penalty, forbidden the immigration to start late, but hereafter I am going to lay an injunction and place a penalty, to be suffered by any Elder or Elders who will start the immigration across the plains after a given time…
   But if, while at the Missouri river, they had received a hint from any person on this earth, or if even a bird had chirped it in the ears of brs. Richards and Spencer, they would have known better than to rush men, women and children on to the prairie in the autumn months, on the 3d of September, to travel over a thousand miles. I repeat that if a bird had chirped the inconsistency of such a course in their ears, they would have thought and considered for one moment, and would have stopped those men, women and children there until another year…
   Are those people in the frost and snow by my doings? No, my skirts are clear of their blood, God knows. If a bird had chirped in br. Franklin's ears in Florence, and the brethren there had held a council, he would have stopped the rear companies there…  (Young, Brigham CH 2)
Many of the handcart pioneers felt strengthened, and closer to God as a result of their handcart experience.  The story is told of Francis Webster, from a Sunday School meeting in Cedar City:
        I heard a testimony once that made me tingle to the roots of my hair. It was in an adult Sunday School class of over fifty men and women.
        Nathan T. Porter, then Principal of the Branch Normal School, was the teacher and the subject under discussion was the ill fated hand cart company that suffered so terribly in the snow in 1856. sharp criticism of the church and its leaders was being indulged in for permitting any company of converts to venture across the Plains with no more supplies or protection than a hand cart caravan afforded. old man in the corner sat silent and listened as long as he could stand it then he arose and said things that no person who heard him will ever forget. His face was white with emotion yet he spoke calmly, deliberately, but with great earnestness and sincerity. said in substance, "I ask you to stop this criticism. You are discussing a matter you know nothing about. Cold historic facts mean nothing here for they give no proper interpretation of the questions involved. Mistake to send the Hand Cart Company out so late in the season? Yes. But I was in that Company and my wife was in it and Sister Nellie Unthank whom you have sited was there too. We suffered beyond anything you can imagine and many died of exposure and starvation, but did you ever hear a survivor of that Company utter a word of criticism? Not one of that Company ever apostatized or left the church because every one of us came through with the absolute knowledge that God lives for we became acquainted with him in our extremities."I have pulled my hand cart when I was so weak and weary from illness and lack of food that I could hardly put one foot ahead of the other. I have looked ahead and seen a patch of sand or a hill slope and I have said I can go only that far and there I must give up for I cannot pull the load through it. I have gone on to that sand and when I reached it the cart began pushing me. I have looked back many times to see who  was pushing my cart but my eyes saw no one. I knew then that the Angels of God were there."Was I sorry that I chose to come by hand cart? No. Neither then nor any minute of my life since. The price we paid to become acquainted with God was a privilege to pay and I am thankful that I was privileged to come in the Martin Hand Cart Company." speaker was Francis Webster and when he sat down there was not a dry eye in the room. We were a subdued and chastened lot. Charles H. Mabey who later became Governor of Utah, arose and voiced the sentiment of all when he said, "I would gladly pay the same price for the same assurance of the eternal verities that Brother Webster has." (Palmer)
It should be pointed out that to Brother Webster’s knowledge, none had left the church.  However that was not true of all the handcart company members:
   Although the Martin Company truly exemplified the motto “Faith in Every Footstep,” it’s member were not unlike any other disparate group of Latter-day Saints, such as those who made a similar journey at a different time or those found in a modern ward.  There was a majority of the company, including Francis and Betsy Webster, whose faith seemed to grow with every step they took.  There were also those who trudged along the trail, their faith little changed by what they experienced.  Finally, there were those whose faith seemed to weaken along the way.
…The evidence is clear that not everyone came through the experience with the same certainty that he did.  While it is not known that anyone in the company apostatized directly as a result of the trials they endured in the cold and snow, there were Martin Company members who subsequently left the Church.  (Orton 2)
One of these was Sister Elizabeth Whittear Sermon Camm, whose husband died on the trek.  “Poor fellow, he died in the night and so on, one after another, passed away; fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, families and friends, all because through some misguided scheme and speculations, which will, some day have to be atoned for. Many, many honest souls laid away in Mother Earth—for what! I do not want to judge.”  (Camm, CH 2)
However, there were many more who, like brother Webster, drew closer to God.  One brother concluded his handcart sacrifices with a hymn and a quote:
How well the Saints rejoice to tell
And count their sufferings o'er.
When they upon Mount Zion dwell
And view the landscape o'er. 
   I have heard that a lady well known among the saints, once said, while the surest way of getting to Heaven was under discussion. "When I approach the Golden Gate, Peter will at once grant me admission when I cry, "Handcarts!" 
   …our hearts are lifted up in praise to God for all his blessings we now enjoy—& though the handcart episode is one of the unpleasant expirences of our lives, the schooling that it gave, & the training of our unpleasant episodes in our lives since then—all have tended to make our faith in our religion the stronger—& our appreaceation of Gods own hand dealing to us as a people, more easily discerned. (Jones, Albert, CH 2)
Another brother transposed a famous hymn to express his thoughts about the handcart experience:
What if they died before their trip was o'er?
Happy day. All is well
They will endure. No toil or sorrow more,
With the just in peace they dwell.
And as our lives were spared again
To see the Saints their joys obtain
Come let us make the chorus swell,
All is well, all is well.
As Francis Webster, several of the handcart members saw the Lord’s intervention.  Patience Loader commented:
   it seemed the Lords fitted the back for the burden[.] every day we realised that the hand of God was over us and that he made good his promices unto us day by day[.] as we Know God our Father has promised us these blessings if we will call on him in faith[.] we Know that his promises never fail and this we prooved day by day[.] we Knew that we had not strength of our own to perform such hardships[.] if our heavenly Father had not help[ed] us and we prayed unto God continuely for his help and we allways acknowledged his goodness unto us day by day[.] Sometimes in the Morning I would feel so tiard and feel that I could not pull the cart the day through[.] then the still small voice would w[h]isper in my ear as thy day thy strength shall be[.] this would give me new strength and energy and thus we traveled on day after day[,] week after week[,] and for four Month[s] before we reached the valley;…
   … we allways as[k] God to bless to our use and that it would Strengthen our bodys day by day so that we could performe our dutys[.] and I can testefie that our heavenly Father heard and answerd our prayers and we was blessed with health and Strength day by day to endure the severe trials we had to pass through on that terrable Journey before we got to Salt Lake City[.] we Know that if God had not been with us that our strength would have failed us and our bodys would have been left on the plains as hundreds of our poor brothers and sisters was[.]  (Archer, CH)
Sister Loader Archer also mentioned this experoence, which was likely a heavenly angel:
Some time in the afternoon a strange Man appeard to me as we was resting[.] as we got up the hill he came and looked in my face he sais is you Patience I said yes he said again I thought it was you[.] travel on[,] there is help for you[.] you will come to a good place there is plenty[.] with this he was gone he dissapeared[.] I looked but never saw whare he went[.] this seemed very strange to me. I took this as some one sent to encurage us and give us strength[.]  (ibid)
  Another faith promoting experience is that of the Bleak family.  Brother Bleak had been the Branch President in London and had determined to go by wagon.  However when others were following his example, and shunning the handcarts, he decided to travel by handcart.  When this was announced in his Branch, a sister spoke in tongues, the interpretation of which was that the entire family would arrive in safety:
   Two good sisters, one, an aged widow, the other unmarried, in the kindness of their womanly hearts, had volunteered to assist the mother by taking charge of one of the children, at the close of each day's travel till the following morning. The offer was gratefully accepted and the four and a half year old, blue eyed, fair haired boy [Thomas Nelson Bleak], became the chosen one to share the added protection of their tender care.
   One morning, after a very cold night, when winter had overtaken the company, these sisters were horrified to find their little pet lying between them dead, as they decided, and in this condition they brought him to his parents. His father, who had already made a fire, took the child and began by anointing him with consecrated oil, and praying over him, calling upon the Lord to keep His promise that not one of the family should fall by the way in gathering to Zion. Tests were applied, but not a heart beat or other sign of life was in the child. The father continued to administer, to chafe the limbs and body, and to call upon the Lord to fulfill His promise. After what appeared to the sympathetic fellow travelers and suffers as a very long time, the father thought he saw a slight flutter in the child's throat; this encouraged further rubbing, chafing and administration until, finally, by God's power and blessing, the dear child unclosed his eyes and is now a resident of Salt Lake City, father of nine children and likewise a grandfather.  (Bleak, CH 3)
The experience of Ephraim hanks among the Martin Company of itself was miraculous, from his being called by a voice from heaven, to his bringing members back from death, or near death.  Also his interventions in providing food, as well us surgical operations in which the sufferer felt no pain, were a testimony of divine assistance.
Brother Jones further provided some insight into the sacrifice made by the Saints for the gospel in a discourse for the handcart association in 1906: 
…though you gathered to Zion in the humble manner you did—you are of the best blood the earth affords—what greater claim exists to superiority of birth—that you have not; when the Patriarch with hands upon your heads, has with the vision of the seer declared you of the Ephriamic stock.
   Rejoice ye Saints of God in the grand promises made you—since you laid down the shafts of that rickety old cart you have been blessed—many of you have been laboring unceasingly since then—you have spent years on missions—you have in turn gathered your fellow-religionists home to Zion,—have fought the Indians who sought your lives,—endured persecution for the Gospels sake—have been in peril both by sea & by land. Imprisoned & fined for conscience sake—all this and more have you passed through, scince your entry to these grand vallies to which God in His mercy has led you…
…—& though the handcart episode is one of the unpleasant expirences of our lives, the schooling that it gave, & the training of our unpleasant episodes in our lives since then—all have tended to make our faith in our religion the stronger—& our appreaceation of Gods own hand dealing to us as a people, more easily discerned.   (Jones, Albert, CH 3)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Book Review: More than Miracles

More than Miracles: Extraordinary Stories from 17 Miracles.

This book is written by T.C. Christensen, who wrote and produces the movie, and Jolene S. Allphin who authored “Tell my Story Too” and was historical consultant for the movie.  It is published by Deseret Book, 2012.  It provides more detail on the scenes in the movie.  I previously reviewed the movie, which I must admit has a more profound effect, but the book likewise offers several good insights.
One of my complaints was the number “seventeen.”  Why call your movie 17 Miracles unless you are consigning yourself to 17 miracles.  Christensen explains that people find any number of different experiences they identify as miracles; from five to thirty.  I think a better title may have been just “Miracles.”  Then people wouldn’t be trying to count.  My thought, with regards to the handcarts, is there is no way to put a number on the miracles, as they were so plentiful.
Allphin explains how the ship Horizon had to return to port for a time due to the mutiny of the crew aboard the ship.  This is something I had not originally realized.  She also talks about the premonitions of rescue at Red Buttes, and the announcement that all had to prepare to die made by Edward Martin.  A fellow member of our high priest group mentioned he is descended from Jane Bitton Poole and there is a quote from her at this time.   After the meeting she decided if she was going to die, she would do so clean and went to the river to wash herself.  In returning there was a commotion.  She found a brother crying.  “She asked him what was wrong.  He answered, ‘Aye lassie, we’re saved!  We’re saved!’  Jane replied, ‘Then what in the world are you cryin’ for.’”  She also talks about the Blue-Winged Angel who came to save them.
Angels were plentiful on that trip, but were not always the heavenly kind.  There was heavenly intervention as mentioned by Francis Webster and others.  The rescuers were asked if they were angels.  And there were times when handcart company members served as angels to each other.
It is interesting how they portrayed “Last Crossing” rather than the crossing at the Sweetwater.  I know the pioneers were much affected by this crossing.  The movie portrays how this crossing lead to the death of George Padley.  In my family history it also had a direct influence on the death of Betsy Ashton, my great-great-great aunt, who family lore says froze her feet at this crossing and died soon afterward.  Also with regards to Isaac, we would have at the least pulled Langley across the river in the handcart.  If he helped any others, as some of the men, there is no record.
Christensen concludes the book with this line.  “…What the surviving record reveals clearly is that those who participated in that epic journey were driven by a faith, diligence, and courage that compel our admiration.”  While Allphin concludes, “Many faithful individuals lost limbs and loved ones to the cold, but they recorded strong testimonies of their continuing devotion to God and His Church.”

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Book Review: ***Hard Road West

Book Review: ***Hard Road West: History and Geology along the California Trail

Written by Keith Meldahl and published by the University of Chicago Press 2007.  This book will tell you more about how mountains are formed than you can even think of to ask.  It then takes all that information and relates it to the pioneer trail.  Why to the pioneers choose the route they took, and how is it that those circumstances were there.  For example the pioneers tried to stay by water, fuel and feed whenever they could.  So it stands to reason that they follow rivers.  But how is it the Sweet water does not go in and out of mountain ranges, but presents a relatively smooth descent to South Pass.  This book gives the answer, explaining that at one time their were mountains there, and they fell.
Why does the trail wander into the Black Hills instead of hugging the Platte.  It happens the Platte goes through narrow canyons.  The book points out that the river in many places predates the mountains.  And that is why you have these narrow canyons like Devil's Gate.  The river was there as the mountain rose over millions of years, and slowly cut the chasm.
If you like geology, you would love this book.  If you want to understand the Pioneer Trail, and the hardships with the journey, this book is for you as well.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Harp of Zion

Book Review: **The Harp of Zion

This is the first book of poetry published by the Church.  It was published in England, by the European Mission in 1853.  The poems were written by John Lyon.  It was published to support the Perpetual Emigration Fund. The book of poetry can be accessed on Google Books.
Thomas Edgar Lyon Jr. wrote an interesting article about the book in BYU Studies 27:1987 "Publishing a Book of Mormon Poetry: The Harp of Zion".
The book was to assist the PEF by selling for more than the cost of printing.  Eventually all the volumes were sold, but only after many were sent to Utah.  It took some time for the Church to recoup its investment.

A couple deserve mention here.  One of these is a poem with regards to the Perpetual Emigration Fund, carrying that name.  I encourages people to donate:

The Perpetual Emigrating Fund.

Come on, ye rich, with all your gifted store;
Give to the poor, and God will give you more!
Your feeling hearts, responsive to His call,
Will find His love and blessing best of all:
Yea, tenfold int’rest on the things you have,
And more than all your charities e’er gave!                 
Why should the rich not help the lab’ring poor?
Both are compell’d to know at mercy’s door!
As well the river scorn the stream and brook
From which it all its swelling greatness took;
Or the great sea retain her liquid store,
Nor give one drop to quench the parched shore;
As wealth withheld accumulated toil,
And say to Poverty,--Starve on the while!
Let richer Saints pour in their glitt’ring gold,
‘Twill pave your way to Zion’s mountain fold!
Ten thousand hearts, with prayerful ardour, seek
The means to live, yet mourn from week to week,
Who could be blest through your beneficence,
To go where labour gains a recompense,
Oh, then! Let love your names in sums record
What you will do for Zion, and the Lord!
Ye poor who labour, learn with pure delight,
How much in value was the widow’s mite!
How farthings multiplied to pence make pounds,
And pounds, to hundreds, thousands—have no bounds!
Till ever Saint reliev’d, and sinner stunned,
Will shout,--LOOK HERE! At this Perpetual Fund!

The author does not have a lot of gathering poems as you would expect, but there are some.   These are a couple examples:

Strike the Lyre

Poor outcasts we, still forced to flee,
By mad sectarians driven,
Condemned, despised, robbed, and reviled,
Without an insult given.
For many years we’ve sown in tears,
Yet, dauntless we’ll remain!
With Ephraim blest, we soon shall rest
So strike the Lyre again, again,
So strike the lyre again.

Song of Zion  (chorus)

Far away from vain strife
There’s a land in the West,
Where our friends live the best,
‘Tis the Valley of Life!

I want to quote a couple more poems I found enjoyable.  One dwells upon helping the poor, but also hits the theme that one needs to develop the means in order to accomplish this:

Practical Religion

With diligence we’ll still pursue
Those acts of grace and mercy due
To toil worn, lab’ring man!
We’ll help the helpless, and secure
The means of life to bless the poor,
And help them all we can.

Cholera was a big killer of the time, not only in England but around the globe.  Poor sanitation conditions were part of the cause.  Cholera was also a culprit along the Pioneer Trail:


What wailing’s this I hear, at home abroad?
A strange foreboding of calamity,
Which all men dread, and few can understand:
At which the vulgar stare, and more profane
Would love to jest it out of countenance.
Yet, still it comes with stealthy, murd’rous step;
The grave and gay, alike before it fall;
The learned seem baffled at its dark approach,
And, as an antidote, propose what might
Have been a sure preventative to some,
If timely given!  But common charity
Must see its haggard victim breed disease;
And when its influence spreads, retire afraid
At what their sins have made! And say ‘tis DEATH!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Chapter 10e: On to Salt Lake

On to Salt Lake
The Saints were in the cove until Sunday, Nov. 9 when they made another start.  They wagon companies had cached most of their goods, freeing the wagons for transporting frozen pioneers.  The handcart pioneers had also cached much of their goods, and left most of the handcarts behind.  “Nearly all of the handcarts have been left behind.”  (Bleak, CH 2)  Since Devil’s Gate, they only had one handcart per tent:
   A council was held in which it was decided that we should leave all our clothing and cooking utensils (except what was absolutely necessary, such as a blanket to wrap ourselves in and the clothing we stood in) to be left at Devils Gate and that a number of the brethern who had come out to meet us should stay to take care of them until spring should open (when they would be sent for from the valley) and that we leave all our hand carts, except one to each tent in order to carry our cooking utensils only.
   …However we made another start, some with bundles on their backs, a number of others would join together and put them on a handcart. Some would be crying, others singing, and thus went trudging along as best we could.  (Openshaw, CH)
They now only used the covered carts, for cooking utensils and sleep covers.   Langley would have been moved to a wagon, but Isaac indicated he was one still with a handcart.  Others of the other Saints did not have handcarts, but were still walking.  “I pulled for 1130 miles to Pacific Springs, Wyoming.”  (Wardle, CH)  Pacific Springs is just past South Pass.
A rescuer reported slow progress.  “Our travel was very slow at first. Five or ten miles a day was all we could make.”  (Cluff, Church History)  A few days after leaving the cove, by Nov. 11, Ephraim Hanks met the handcart company.  He was instrumental in saving many of the Saints.  “Very few men—or members of the rescuing party, if any, surpassed Ephraim Hanks in the services and assistance that he rendered our company, day and night, until the last one of us reached Salt Lake, and from that day till this we have been crowning him with thanks and blessings.”  (Rogerson, Church History) 
Ephraim found them just before they stopped for the day.  He brought with him buffalo meat draped over his mule, which he distributed to the pioneers.  Ephraim also talked about his anointments and healings, which commenced with that first night.  He and Daniel Tyler visited the tent of a man on his death bed at the request of his wife.  Brother Tyler said, ‘I cannot administer to a dead man.”    Brother Tyler went back to bed, leaving Ephraim Hanks to lay out the body.  Instead Ephraim recruited several men to help him warm the body with heated water.  He then anointed him with oil.  They then laid their hands on his head and “commanded him in the name of Jesus Christ to breathe and live.”  This man began to breath, stood up and sang a hymn.  His wife went about camp saying, “My husband was dead, but is now alive. Praised be the name of God. The man who brought the buffalo meat has healed him.” (Hanks p 50)
            You can imagine the general excitement caused by this healing.  Ephraim was then in demand throughout the camp to bless this person or that.  “’Come to me,’ or ‘my dying child’ were some of the requests that were made of me.” (Ibid)  He spent days going from tent to tent administering to the sick.  “The result of this our labor of love certainly redounded to the honor and glory of a kind and merciful God.  In score of instances when we administered to the sick, and rebuked the diseases in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, the sufferers would rally at once; they were healed almost instantly.  I believe I administered to several hundred in a single day…”  A young man he blessed was healed immediately, dressed himself and danced a hornpipe on the end board of a wagon.  (ibid)
            Isaac made no mention of having been blessed personally by Ephraim Hanks, but there is no doubt he would have been the witness to not only the suffering of the Saints, but also the miracles performed in their behalf.  However not even Ephraim could heal everyone, or cure all the infirmities.  Many cases he also served as surgeon:
But notwithstanding these manifestations of the Lord's goodness, [m]any of the immigrants whose extremities were frozen, lost their limbs, either whole or in part.  Many such I washed with water and castile soap, until the frozen parts would fall off, after which I would sever the shreds of flesh from the remaining portions of the limbs with my scissors. Some of the emigrants lost toes, others fingers, and again others whole hands and feet;…  But so far as I remember there were no fresh cases of frozen limbs after my arrival in camp.   (Ibid p 48)
              As the train moved toward Salt Lake City, Ephraim stayed with them and would hunt buffalo.  He supplied the pioneers with a good amount of meat. 
It wasn’t until Nov 14 that it was recorded “No death in camp tonight.”  (Burton, CH 1)  As more and more relief wagons were met, the baggage was transferred into the wagons, the handcarts were abandoned one after another:
Not many days after the departure of the companies from Devils Gate they were met by a train of wagons with supplies from Zion. Following this train came another and then another and from that time on the road was kept pretty well opened. As the trains came the number of handcarts diminished as the aged were taken into wagons and made quite comfortable. By the time we reached Ft Bridger the entire handcart people were being carried with their goods, in wagons.  (Cluff, Church History)
As they approached the valley, more and more rescuers met them.  Isaac may have been relieved of his duty of hunting for firewood, as often the fires would already have been started by the “valley boys” before they reached camp.  “As we neared the vallies—younger men—boys in their red shirts, their trousers thrust well down into their boot tops made their appearence felling the dry timber for our fires—& even trying to make merriment to cheer up our gloomy & sorely tried people.”  (Jones, Albert, CH 2)  “The Brethern from Salt Lake continued meeting us and some times, we had a good cheering fire built for us when we got into camp.”  (Camm, CH 2)
            On Nov 17 the ox wagons were left behind so they had mule pulled wagons only, which could travel more quickly; “expect to travel 20 to 25 miles a day.”  (Bleak, Ch 2)  As they met more rescuers the handcarts were left behind.  “As the emigrants traveled up the sweet Water and over the mountain, more relief wagons met them from the valley, and one by one the hand carts were abandoned.”  (Loynd, Ch)  It wasn’t until Nov. 19 that Brother Burton records that all the Saints were then in wagons.  This was shortly after leaving the Sweetwater, so would have been close to South Pass and Pacific Springs.  (Burton, CH 1)  “In traveling up the Sweet Water we began to meet teams sent to our aid, which relieved the situation to such an extent that when we reached the head of the Sweet Water we were able, on the 19th of November, to get most if not all of the emigrants in the wagons and from this time on we made good time.”  (Burton, CH 2)  Thomas Steed, one of the rescuers, mentions that after having pulled back to fort Bridger, he and a group with their wagons met the handcart company at Pacific Springs.  (Steed, CH)
            A  rescuer who met the handcart company at Fort Bridger recorded, “This was the saddest sight I have seen.  The biggest part of them were given out and nearly frozen to death; some with their feet frozen, some with their hands frozen.  It was a sight that would make one's heart ache just to look at them.”  (Wadsworth, CH)
            Eventually the pioneers were allowed to sleep in the wagons at night.  However this was not always a blessing:
…the good brother that award [owned] the wagon told us that we could sleep in his wagon and he would make a hole in the snow and make his bed there[.] he thought we would be warmer in the wagon[.] we made our bed there but we only had one old quilt to lie on and in the night I woke up and called to Mother I am freezing[.] the side I had laid on was so benomed [benumbed] with cold Mother got up and helped me out of the wagon[.] there was some big fiars burning in several places in the camp and lots of the sisters sit[t]ing and Sleeping near the fiar to Keep warm So I went to the fiar and staid there the remain[d]er of the night[.]  (Archer, CH)
            Afterwards Patience learned that if you but some coals from the fire in a bucket, and brought them to the wagon, you could sleep comfortable enough.  (ibid)  Brother Allred, one of these rescuers recorded this after all the Saints were in wagons:
Nov 18th. The teams having all arrived we were organized into Companies of (10's) Tens by wagons—each ten taking up a Company of one hundred as they were organized in the Handcarts—my ten wagons hauling Capt. Mayo's company. All could ride, altho. much crowded. We then set out for the City with this half starved, half frozen and almost entirely exausted Company of about 500 saints. But from that time on they did not suffer with hunger or fatiegue, but all suffered more or less with cold. As well as I was provided I even lost my toe nails from frost  (Allred, CH)
About a week before they arrived in Salt Lake, one of the rescuers wrote a letter to his family.  He offered a description of the pioneers.  “I am setting. not on the stile. mary. but on a sack of oats with the paper on my knee, by the side of a blazing Camp fire, surrounded by some eight hundred persons, one old lady lays dead within twenty feet of me, babies crying. Some singing some praying, &c &c…. The suffering of the camp from frozen feet and various other causes, I will not attempt to describe, suffice to any bad. bad.”  (Hunter, CH) 
Although they made good time there was still peril going down the mountain to Salt Lake.  “Arriving at the Big Mountain on the evening of the 30th of November, where the snow had piled up on each side of the road nearly to the tops of our wagons, which had been kept open by the efforts of our dear President Brigham Young by the use of ox teams passing up and down the road.”  (Burton, Church History 3)  Brother Jones also mentions going through snow eight feet deep past Little Mountain.  (Jones, Albert, Church History 3)  Harvey Cluff remembered a snow bank.  “…Near the summit a cut with shovels had to be made through a snow drift twenty feet deep.”  (Cluff, Church History)  During some of this pass, the pioneers who were able had to get out and walk.  “We had to travel over two mountains before reaching Salt Lake City. One called the large Mountain and one the little Mountain. All that could was ordered to walk as it was hard pulling for the animals. They built fires here and there to warm by.´ (Goodaker, CH) “We had a hard time for the Canyon was full of snow and it was all we could do to get through. The authorities had sent out wagons and men from Salt Lake to put up tents, clear the snow from the ground, and to set the fires to [so] they could start them as soon as we came in sight. They did and it was a welcome sight to see them.”  (Wadsworth, CH)
Shortly before entering the valley, a bushel of onions arrived to them with the statement, Eat all you want.”  It had been some time since they had heard anyone say this.  Burton documents the donation of onions. (Burton, Church History 4)  Isaac later talked of this day.  “In Parley’s Canyon they were camped at a place called, ‘The Dell.’  A group from Salt Lake City met them with more food which consisted of cold biscuits and onion.  With word from Brigham Young to, ‘Eat all you want.’ What a wonderful message to a group of people who had not had all they wanted to eat for weeks.”  (Rupp)  The Dell, or Little Dell is about 9 miles up Emigration Canyon, and just over the top of the canyon into the Parley’s canyon area.  
At the mouth of Emigration Canyon they were met by a group of Saints.  “On a bright Sunday morning we were met in Emigration Canyon by hundreds of people in buggies and wagons and horseback to see us.”  (Camm, CH 1) The Handcart Saints arrived on a Sunday afternoon:
We were received by the saints, some with tears in their eyes and some with joy. We were a pitiful sight to see, and for weeks this company was not allowed to eat much nor to see themselves in a mirror. President Young met us, and when he saw us he was so melted down with grief at sight of our condition he had to go home sick, but he blessed us first.  (Clark, Church History 1)
Brother Allred gives a good description of the last few days of the trip, and entering the valley:
After geting well started Capt. Grant with a number of others started ahead to the City leaving Robert T. Burton in Command with me to assist him, and after hard marches & much suffering, which was however, lessened by assistance from Salt Lake City in the shape of Cooked provisions & men to Clear the snow on the mountain passes—making it possible for our much exausted teams to get along with their heavy loads, we arrived in the City in triumph. Capt. Burton leading one & I the other as we moved up the Street in two lines to the Tithing yard where we were greeted with much praise & a hearty welcome to the City of the saints where we as well as the new comers could rest from our labours and our work could follow us.   (Allred, CH)
            Entering the Valley, the handcart members may have felt much like Johan Ahmanson, who had preceded them with the Willie Company by a few weeks: 
Many forgot the tribulations they had endured upon glimpsing the sudden vista…. From that distance the city with its light gray adobe houses looked like a large encampment, and the Salt Lake Valley, which had a breadth of about thirty miles from east to west, resembled a basin or dried up lake, with its huge mountain masses ranging upward on all sides.  Although the vegetation was now dead, and the eye of the observer met only a desolate treeless valley, surrounded by bare, reddish mountains, yet the impression made by the whole scene was still very pleasing.  (Johan Ahmanson as quoted in Olsen p 176)
Langley Bailey described the arrival in Salt Lake.  He had ridden in a wagon since martin’s Cove:
   Our emerging from Immigration [Emigration] canyon Sun, Nov. 30 will never be forgotten. I was lifted up in the wagon, more dead than alive, and saw in the distance houses. Christopher Columbus and his men were no more pleased [illegible to rejoice [illegible habitations once more. When [illegible] the city the people were coming out of meeting. Hundreds came and viewed us with much amazement. (Bailey, CH 1)
   We arrived in Salt Lake City Sunday noon comming out of immergration [Immigration] canyon. I was lifted up in the wagon could see houses in the distance. It <was;> like the Isrealites of old in beholding the promised land. date Nov 30, 1856.  (Bailey, CH 2)
A sister noted that they were taken to the Assembly Hall, where, “”the floor was covered with straw and there was a nice warm fire for us.”  Isaac provided this description of their arrival:
  We arrived there Nov. 30, 1856 having taken us Six (6) months and five (5) days to come from Liverpool England to Salt Lake City U.S.A.
   President Brigham Young along with many of the other Brethren and Women came to welcome us and took us into their homes, fed and warmed us and gave us warm clean beds to rest our weary bodies.  (Wardle, CH) 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Chapter 10d: Martin's Cove

Martin’s Cove 

The Valley Boys not only provided service at the Sweetwater, but also at the cove this day:

Once the handcart pioneers reached the cove where they were to camp for the night, a great amount of work still needed to be done. Wood had to be gathered, fires built, meals provided, and tents pitched. The rescuers took as much of the burden of these vital needs as possible, with much of this responsibility falling upon those who had taken the weaker members of the company in wagons. Heber McBride recalled that at the cove “the men from Salt Lake would clean off the snow and pitch the tents and get wood for all the families that had lost their Father and then they would help the rest what they could.”  Concerning the reunion with his mother who had preceded him to the cove, McBride wrote, “We went into a cove in the mountain and got out of the wind and when we got there the tent was up and Mother and Mrs. [Mary Ann] Barton [were] sitting by a good fire.”  McBride further noted that the rescuers “put the tents up and got wood and took care of Mother [who was very ill] and the 3 little ones.”  (Orton 2)

Isaac, who had drawn his handcart to the ravine, had still more work to do after they arrived at camp.  He was compelled to gather firewood.  Hanks [not Hanks who still hadn’t arrived but another valley boy] forced them to go hunt for wood which they found just over a little hill.  (Rupp)  This incident is told in more detail by a docent at the cove:

Visitor: Can you share about the guy that cut down the tree?
Docent: Well that was Isaac Wardle.  Isaac Wardle was a young man; in his early 20s.  And uh, he had pulled and pushed, him and another kid about the same age, had pulled and pushed other handcart people, and did everything, and by the time he got up in here in the cove he was just spent and he sat down; and one of the valley boys came over and he said "we need you to go and cut some firewood."  And he says "no, I'm not going to.  I'm going to just sit here and die."  And the valley guy says to him, "no you're not.  You're going to get up, and  you're going to go down and you're going to go out and you're going to cut down three trees and bring them back for firewood. Here's the ax, and you go do it now."  And he says, "no, I'm not going to."  And uh, the valley boy insisted the next time, almost physically insisted.  And he got him up; and he kept coming here and he cut down three trees somewhere.  We think we have identified the stump according to President Hinckley.  And there are stumps.  And he cut down those three trees.  And later in life in his journal he said it was that act that preserved his life.  Otherwise he would have; and he thanked, in his journal, that valley boy, that insisted he get up and make that happen.  And that saved his life.  (aProductofUSA)

This story is also told in the blog of someone who participated in a modern-day trek:

Isaac Wardle, was freezing and starving in Martin's Cove in November of 1856.  He thought he was at his end.  One of the rescuers asked him to go chop down a tree for firewood before he sat down.  Isaac didn't want to and eventually had to be physically forced to go do it.  Once done, he was sent back twice to chop down more trees. The process ended up invigorating him and saved his life.  These are believed to be two of the three tree stumps that still remain.  (Courtney)  (see the picture in the introducation)

The handcarts were used to fetch firewood.  Some of the valley boys also gathered firewood.  (See Broomhead, CH)   Isaac was not the only pioneer who had to gather wood, despite the efforts of the valley boys. 

When he arrived at the camp, he had to climb the mountain to cut some cedar for firewood. The "boys" of the relief party had cut some wood for the camp, but that was all appropriated before he arrived in camp. So he went on the mountain, and the mountains there are little else than rocks, and he took his little hatchet, for axes were few in camp. Green cedar was of little use. Nothing but dry cedar was really serviceable for fuel, and the dry cedar was almost as hard as iron, while his hatchet had not been ground since he left the Missouri, if it had since he left Iowa city. So I will leave you to imagine how long he was that night before he succeeded in getting fuel for those depending on him. (Jaques, CH)

Isaac would have had the task of setting up their tent that night as well.  The wind played a nasty trick with the tents in camp that first night. 

Camp was made, tents set, supper over and the people retired for the night when a Snow Storm accompanied by a raging wind from the north came over the mountain and with a terrific whirrl arround the cove levelled every tent to the ground. Here again the Utah boys found that their services verry much needed. To rescue the people from beneath their tents and re-set the tents in the dark hours of the night was a very trying ordeal for the boys and also the people but marvilous as it may seem, not a single person was Seriously injured.  (Cluff, Church History)

However it is likely Isaac’s tent did not fall down with all the others. Langley Bailey, in his letter written to Isaac, wrote, “You and me are in much better condissions than we were at this time 60 years ago, I can remember one morning. every tent was blowed down. but ours. You did stake our tent down strong and firm My dear Brother.” (Bailey, Langley)
Another brother noted,  “We stayed in the ravine five or six days on reduced rations. One night a windstorm blew down almost every tent. Many perished of cold and hunger at this place. I am not going into detail about the occurrences at Martin's ravine.”  (Jones, Samuel, CH)
Pitching tents in the snow was quite a task, and with the Wyoming winds it was even more important to do it well to avoid catastrophe during the night.  A young sister commented about the stay in the Cove, “Then, when we camped, they had to scrape a place to camp in and there was not much to make fires with. The rations of food became scarce. There were 4 ounces daily for an adult and 2 for a child and sometimes a little piece of meat. O I’ll never forget it, never!”  (Fullmer, CH 2)  Another sister said, “The tent was frozen and the ground so hard we could not set it up. I think it was two weeks we were without tents.”  (Camm, CH 1)  Young Peter McBride described a night their tent fell down from the wind:

The wind blew the tent down. They all crawled out but me. The snow fell on it. I went to sleep and slept warm all night. In the morning I heard someone say, "How many are dead in this tent?" My sister said, "Well, my little brother must be frozen to death in that tent." So they jerked the tent loose, sent it scurrying over the snow. My hair was frozen to the tent. I picked myself up and came out quite alive, to their surprise.  (McBride, Peter, CH)

A young sister had a similar experience to Peter:

After pitching our tents we lay down on the ground to get some sleep and rest. In the night the tents all blew over. It was all ice and snow where I was lying, and when the tents blew off I didn’t wake up I was so tired. One man came and looked at me. He called some more men over saying, “I wonder if she is dead?” He patted me on the head and just then I opened my eyes. He jumped back. I tried to raise my head but found that my hair was frozen to the ground. They chopped the ice all around my hair, and I got up and went over to the fire and melted the large pieces of ice that were clinging to my hair. The men laughed to think that I could lie there all night with my hair frozen in the ice, but were very glad that I wasn’t dead. (Allen, CH)

Although the cove provided some protection from the elements, conditions were still extreme.  “On our way, we camped at a gulch called "Martin's Ravine". Here we suffered terribly with the cold. It was only with the Power of God that we survived.”  (Zundle, CH)  The cold was unbearable.  The ferocity of the wind, and efforts to combat it were recorded by the rescuers.  “The camp moved half a mile nearer the mountain to get out of the wind and to get wood hander.  Spint that day in cooking and geting wood and fixing ways to break the wind.”  (Broomhead, CH)
However, having the hill in front and the mountains behind did afford some protection from the wind, which protection likely saved lives:
     This cove or ravine, was indeed our Valley Forge or graveyard, and though some have censured Captain Martin for taking us there, yet if we had stayed at the Devil's Gate fort it would have been more fatal, on account of the full sweep the bitter cold winds had on us there, and one day or night with the thermometer 11 degrees below zero. Here we had plenty of good cedar wood and shelter on three sides. (Rogerson, CH)

The other goal, of being closer to a ready supply of fuel, was also achieved.  “We reached the cove or ravine in time to get our tents pitched before dark, and found plenty of good, dry cedar and pine, close by on the rocks and ledges.”  (Rogerson, CH)
 However the weather remained cold.  “The night was as cold as nearly any we had at the Devil's Gate, and the snow so frozen to the ground that many were not able to clear it out of the tents, so they threw down their buffalo robes and blankets and lay down exhausted. We remained here the evening of Tuesday, Nov. 4 and Nov. 5, 6, 7 and 8—five nights and four days.”  (ibid)  The temperature was eleven degrees below zero during this time.  (Burton, CH 1) 
Heber McBride later wrote of the Cove, “we came up this side of Devils gate about 6 miles and camped in a little cove in the mountains where the wind could not have such a clean sweep at us….then was the time to hear children crying for something to eat[.] nearly all the children would cry themselves to sleep every night[.]”  (McBride, Heber, CH 2)
 The pioneers remembered Martin’s Ravine or Cove with dread.  “At this season and at this part of the plains it commenced getting cold, and were again placed on shorter rations of 4 ounces of flour to each person per day. We traveled to the Sweet Waters River where we camped, being so weak and exhausted that it was almost impossible to move.  Many of our people while there died of starvations while others froze to death by the wayside.”  (Housley, CH)  “After this crossing we camped for several days in a deep gulch called ‘Martin's Ravine’. It was a fearful time and place. It was so cold that some of the company came near freezing to death. The sufferings of the people were fearful, and nothing but the power of a merciful God kept them from perishing. The storms continued unabated for some days.  (Kingsford CH)  “The Company passed off the main road to what was named Martin's Ravine, to escape the terrible blizzards and storms for we had little clothing and had given up all hope; death had taken a heavy tool, the ravine was like an overcrowded tomb, no mortal pen could describe the suffering; such was the condition when word was received that help was on the way.”  (Kirkman, CH)  Patience Archer added this memory:

“we had avery nice camping place[.] here we remained for nine days as we had to wait untill more provisions came to us[.] what suplys had allready been Sent to us had to be left for the breathren that had to Stay all winter at Devels gate[,] as the cattle had nearly all gave out[,] boath in the wagon company and our company and a great deal of freight had to be left there at Devels gate untill spring[.] and we was on four oz. of flour aday nearly all the time we was in camp on the Sweet water[.]  (Archer, CH)

The stay was actually five days.  Rations were reduced, as additional relief was longer in arriving than expected due to the storms.  The rations went back to four ounces of flour for adults and two for children:

We then went into a canyon where we camped for about three weeks. In a few days after we arrived here our rations were reduced to four ounces of flour per day. This happened on account of a number of the brethern having to stay a[t] Devil’s Gate until spring to guard the effects that the company had left. Having to leave all the flour that it was thought we could do without until we should meet a fresh supply from the valley… (Openshaw, CH)

The oxen and animals continued to die, or were killed and supplied what nourishment they could, but they were very lean.  This would not have been very good for Langley’s health issues.  “Here nearly all the balance of our oxen died, and several were found each morning dead between the tents, and some with their heads close to the ashes of our campfires. Others were knocked in the head before they did die, cut up and eaten, together with many a pound of rawhide, after roasting off the hair.”  (Rogerson, CH)  “they began killing the poor oxen that had not died and distributing the hyde and bones among the people to try and keep them from starving[.]”  (McBride, Heber, CH 2)  “The next day we had nothing to eat but some bark from trees.”  (McBride, Peter, CH)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Book Review: The Martin Handcart Company at the Sweetwater

Book Review: The Martin Company at the Sweetwater: Another Look.  This is an article published in the BYU Studies journal in 2006 (45, no. 3).  It was written by Chad M. Orton.  This article takes another historical look at the stories we have been told of the crossing at the Sweetwater.  The traditional story comes from Solomon F. Kimball who told how three 18-year old boys entered the water and helped the entire company cross the Sweetwater, and have effects from the cold the remainder of their lives, and all eventually dying from the consequences.  Brigham Young guaranteed them all Celestial Glory as a result of their sacrifice. 
Orton points out that this story, to a great degree, kept the handcart story alive in the minds of the members of the Church.  However, factually it does have some lapses.  There were more than three boys who entered the water; at least five and maybe more.  Others were doing other equally important duties that day.  Although those who entered the water were young, their ages varied from twenty-four to sixteen.  It is evident the boys did not carry everyone over the river.  The invalids were taken in wagons.  Some of the men forded the river, often pulling handcarts.  The women and children had first claim to being carried over the river, although some men were carried. 
It could well be that some of the young men had later health effects as a result—arthritis and such.  Many of them had careers which would have been difficult with physical limitations—teamster for instance.  They mostly lived long lives, and generally died from other causes. 
As to the promise from Brigham Young, it was elsewhere quoted as that they would be immortalized, which they have as thousands go to Martin’s Cover yearly and hear the story of their sacrifice.  Some even ford the river with a handcart.
This article lead me to a couple other shorter articles through the bibliography.  Belated Emigrants of 1856 by Solomon F Kimball was published in the Improvement Era February 1914.  Another is an autobiography of Janneta Ann McBride which is included in “The Story of the McBride Family” by Bruce I. McBride and David B. McBride.
This is an article which provides great insight to this event, and appears to be well researched.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Martin's Cove, Isaac Wardle

This is the transcript and link for docent talk about Isaac Wardle at Martin's Cove.

Visitor: Can you share about the guy that cut down the tree?
Docent: Well that was Isaac Wardle.  Isaac Wardle was a young man; in his early 20s.  And uh, he had pulled and pushed, him and another kid about the same age, had pulled and pushed other handcart people, and did everything, and by the time he got up in here in the cove he was just spent and he sat down; and one of the valley boys came over and he said "we need you to go and cut some firewood."  Ane he says "no, I'm not going to.  I'm going to just sit here and die."  And the vakkey guy says to him, "no you're not.  You're going to get up, and  you're going to go down and you're going to go out and you're going to cut down three trees and bring them back for firewood. Here's the ax, and you go do it now."  And he says, "no, I'm not going to."  And uh, the valley boy insisted the next time, almost physically insisted.  And he got him up; and he kept coming here and he cut down three trees somewhere.  We think we have identified the stump according to President Hinckley.  And there are stumps.  And he cut down those three trees.  And later in life in his journal he said it was that act that preserved his life.  Otherwise he would have; and he thanked, in his journal, that valley boy, that insisted he get up and make that happen.  And that saved his life.

The young man who pulled with Isaac was John Bailey, 15.  Together they had hauled Langley, John's  brother, most of the way across the plains.  This day is most likely the day they would have forded the Sweetwater to get into the cove.

Young Isaac Wardle, was freezing and starving in Martin's Cove in November of 1856. He thought he was at his end. One of the rescuers asked him to go chop down a tree for firewood before he sat down. Isaac didn't want to and eventually had to be physically forced to go do it. Once done, he was sent back twice to chop down more trees. The process ended up invigorating him and saved his life. These are believed to be two of the three tree stumps that still remain.